The National Peace Council is exploring avenues to partner Ghanaian media houses to roll out programmes to enhance professional reporting in conflict sensitivities.
As the media provide and facilitate the flow of information, the Council acknowledges that they constitute an important component of the political process in democracies.
Chairman of the National Peace Council, Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, however says the media must be encouraged to discourage political insults, lies and invectives and facilitate debates on issues bothering on national interest.
“Reporting on conflicts and elections in a way that promotes peace in the country is critical to Ghana’s democratic governance,” he said.
The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have initiated a consultative platform to promote dialogue and build consensus on national policy response to systematic governance issues.
The “Multi-stakeholder Consultative Platform for Peace and Democratic Governance” seeks to build consensus towards developing pragmatic and workable interventions to deal with critical issues of peace and governance in Ghana.
One of the outcomes to be achieved on this platform is to conduct advocacy campaigns to empower citizens with information and knowledge to promote peaceful coexistence and social cohesion.
Among activities is engagement with media editors and reporters to negotiate their partnership for supporting the peace campaign using their various media channels. They will also be educated on conflict sensitive reporting and peacebuilding,
UNDP’s Peace and Governance Analyst, Melody Azinim, says the UNDP will continue to support the different peace actors to ensure that Ghana continues to advance its enviable record as an oasis of peace in Africa.
Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante said “the media’s positive contribution should not blind us to the dangers inherent in mass communication, especially where effective control may be in the hands of a very few, usually powerful individuals who are motivated by pecuniary and political interests”.
He observed media personnel may face moral problems over conflict of interest that might affect their objectivity, neutrality and ability to report accurately and justly.
“Chequebook journalism and gutter press and media can visit chaos upon our democratic good,” he said. “For the sake of national cohesion, we must encourage the media to be fair, responsible and objective in their coverage and reportage of issues”.
‘Chequebook’ journalism is the practice where the journalist buys stories and is in danger of creating much ado about nothing, while pandering to the greed, vulnerability and undiscerning gullibility of people.
These acts undermine the sanctity of the media, said the Chairman of the National Peace Council.
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